Samford University and Miles College developed the MISA Collaborative as a cultural partnership to use the arts and humanities as a tool to bring these two institutions together – collectively as institutions, and relationally, with each other and the communities in which we live and work with a shared purpose of serving others.
Its goal is to deepen authentic racial and cultural diversity, and believe that a partnership with enduring relationships between our schools is a promising and practical place to do that work.
According to Bala Baptiste, joint chair of the collaborative team and chair and professor of communications at Miles, Samford and Miles have a strong history of collaboration. He leads the team with Laura Byland, theatre for youth professor at Samford. “The MISA Collaborative’s joint efforts fall within a tradition of cooperation between Miles College and Samford University that dates back to 1965 when the SGA of each institution clandestinely integrated a concert on Samford’s campus. During that period, it was illegal for Blacks and whites to accommodate one another at a single location. Cooperation between the races was unlawful then, and while the socio-political situation is not nearly as dire today, there remains room for collaboration, especially in the awakening of the need for Black people to experience social justice. I hope this collaborative cements the two institutions together to use their resources to trade various aspects of cultural among our institutions and communities,” said Baptiste.
The official commencement took place at the inaugural event, Crumbs from the Table of Joy, a play that was directed by Miles’ faculty member Chalethia Williams and performed at Samford University. The second project focused on the Fairfield community which is home to Miles College with reimagining the use of one of the vacant buildings downtown. The concepts will be used as a catalyst for Fairfield’s vision for the future. Additional projects are currently in concept phase.
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